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6/20/2024 PhD candidate Emily Fletcher published an article "Digital public archaeology: Excavating data from digs done decades ago and connecting with today’s communities" in The Conversation. This is a news article written about her dissertation. 

6/20/2024 Dr. Courtney Wittekind published an article “Take Our Land” : Fronts, Fraud, and Fake Farmers in a City-to-Come" in Cultural Anthropology. This article explains changing logics of speculation among Myanmar farmers facing the prospect of urbanization and accounts for the impact of climate change and large-scale investment on smallholders.

6/20/2024 Dr. Jesse Wolfhagen (former Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Anthropology) has published a new article in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, entitled “Wool They, won’t they: Zooarchaeological perspectives on the political and subsistence economies of wool in northern Mesopotamia”. The paper, co-authored with Dr. Max Price (Durham University), is a meta-analysis of zooarchaeological data spanning the Neolithic through Late Bronze Age periods in northern Mesopotamia.  

6/19/2024 PhD candidate Meredith Aulds published a salient article regarding the sexually dimorphic nature of sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion in a contemporary skeletal population. The paper uses an evolutionary framework to examine if pelvic adaptations towards childbirth causes higher rates of SI joint fusion in males than females. It is available, open access, through the American Journal of Biological Anthropology.

5/30/2024 Graduate student Rebecca Martinez was selected to receive the 2024 College of Liberal Arts Graduate Student Excellence in Research Award!

5/11/2024 Drs. Kali Rubaii and Ian Lindsay have been working in collaboration with health science colleagues, Ellen Wells and Aaron Specht (and more recently with our very own Ovie Agezeh) to analyze health outcomes from environmental exposures to war in Iraq. Spatial Distribution of Heavy Metal Contamination in Soils of Fallujah, Iraq.

4/30/2024 Dr. Courtney T. Wittekind has been awarded a $75,000 National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for her project Influencing the Revolution: Social Media and Digital Fundraising in the United States and Myanmar, through the NEH’s Dangers and Opportunities of Technology: Perspectives from the Humanities (DOT) program.

4/29/2024 Dr. Andrew Flachs was given the 2024 Society of Ethnobiology Menton Award.

4/19/2024 MS student Brandy Le was chosen to be part of the 2024 Yale Environmental Fellows Program. I'll be working on issues of environmental justice, oral histories, and story telling in collaboration with the Environmental Transformation Movement of Flint.

4/17/2024 The Conversation published a writeup of Dr. Andrew Flachs and Dr. Joseph Orkin's work on the links between food culture and the microbiome today, funded by the CLA Global Synergy Grant: (

3/19/2024 Dr. Amanda Veile and her colleagues published a compelling response to recent claims that challenge the established science concerning the evolutionary implications of the sexual division of labor and the extent to which women engaged in hunting in the past. Can women hunt? Yes. Did women contribute much to human evolution through endurance hunting? Probably not is available, open access, through American Anthropologist.

3/4/2024 Dr. Elizabeth Eklund and Saleh Ahmed co-authored Who owns the land? Socio-cultural and economic drivers of unequal agrarian land ownership in climate-vulnerable coastal Bangladesh on Taylor & Francis Online.  

3/4/2024 Dr. Risa Cromer has a new publication in a new edited volume Hormonal Theory: A Rebellious Glossary titled FOLLICLE-STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH) AND LUTEINIZING HORMONE (LH).

2/28/2024 PhD student, Emily Fletcher was selected to participate in the Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS) Future Leaders Summit.

2/27/2024 Dr. Risa Cromer provided expertise and been interviewed for a recent Wall Street Journal article on the IVF issue in Alabama

2/25/2024 Dr. Kory Cooper had a successful book launch of The History and Archaeology of Fort Ouiatenon 300 Years in the Making along with his colleagues and co-authors.

2/16/2024 Congratulations to PhD student, Fionna Fahey for winning the SfAA 2024 Student Endowed Travel Award Winner.   

1/31/2024 Dr. Laura Zanotti was elected President-Elect of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America and will serve as President from 2027-2031.

1/4/2024 Dr. Michele Buzon's recently published article, "Tumuli at Tombos: Innovation, Tradition, and Variability in Nubia during the Early Napatan Period," is the cover article for the December issue of African Archaeological Review. 

12/12/2023 PhD student, Jose Becerra was awarded a fellowship with SEEKCommons Socio-Environmental Knowledge Commons Project! It is an NSF-funded project led by the University of Notre Dame, the Open Environmental Data Project, and the HDF group to support research into open science, knowledge commons, and socio-environmental action. 

12/1/2024 Congratulations to graduate student, Olivia Palepoi on the opening of her exhibition Visualizing Sāmoan Cultural Identity: Reflections on "Returns to the Water" in the Diaspora located next to the Anthropology office on the 2nd floor in STON.

11/29/2023 Dr. Natali Valdez's book Weighing the Future was awarded the 2023 Eileen Basker Memorial Book Prize of the Society for Medical Anthropology and was a 2023 finalist for the Ludwik Fleck Book Prize of the Society for Social Studies of Science.

11/17/2023 Purdue alumni Saish Solankar's work “Into The World of Frog Gigging”  won the 2023 Undergraduate Student Award for Outstanding Work from The Society for Visual Anthropology Student Awards.

11/16/2023 Dr. Sarah Renkert's "Engaging Anthropology in the Human-Centered Design Classroom" presented at the 1909 Conference in Nashville, Tennessee  was voted as a finalist for the "Epsilon Pi Tau Outstanding Conference Presentation Award." 

11/9/2023 Dr. Courtney Wittekind released an article in November along with Hilary Faxon entitled Livestreamed land: Scams and certainty in Myanmar’s digital land market. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space.

10/18/2023 Ph.D. candidate Kari A. Guilbault made a remarkable discovery of a medieval religious tattoo while conducting her dissertation research at the University of Warsaw, Poland. News of this discovery has been reported by multiple national and international media outlets. Read about it here!

10/6/2023 Dr. Ian Lindsay led an invited heritage forensics workshop at Harvard University, entitled "Making Sense with Sensors: Using Satellites to Document Cultural Erasure." (w/ collaborators Husik Ghulyan, Adam T. Smith, and Lori Khatchadourian). 

9/28/2023 Dr. Kali Rubaii has a piece This is Why We Protect the Rivers, This is How We Love the Rivers in The Destruction of Loss is published in Critical Times: Interventions in Global Critical Theory 6(2) and edited by Basit Iqbal and Rajbir Judge.

9/19/2023 Dr. Kali Rubaii for her chapter "Note the Ghosts: Among the More-than-Living in Iraq," in War-torn Ecologies, An-anarchic Fragments: Reflections from the Middle East, edited volume. Ed. Umut Yildirim. ICI Press Berlin, Cultural Inquiry Series. 2023.

"Note the Ghosts" is about ghosts and toxic affects. "For a moment, the flame makes a wave of clear heat, and you stop everything, with large eyes. You can see me, my face, through the heat. You say my name like a question.... Toxic affects play tricks. They sap life. They take flesh. They give feeling." Here is the link to the chapter: Here is the book, open access:

9/14/2023 Dr. Michele Buzon has a fascinating podcast episode on bioarchaeology and the ancient Nile River Valley featured in "This Is Purdue" as one of the final episodes in the 2023 Purdue Research Series.

9/14/2023 Dr. Ian Lindsay co-presented a paper, entitled "Caucasus Heritage Watch: Monitoring and Documenting Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs of Conflict" w/ Lori Khatchadourian and Adam T. Smith). The presentation was invited by the US Department of State's Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs as part of the workshop, "Remote Sensing for Cultural Heritage Documentation and Monitoring Virtual Workshop."

9/7/2023 Dr. Tessa Farmer gave a lecture September 7th where she follows residents of Ezbet Khairallah, an informal neighborhood of Cairo, as they labor to exchange, value, and evaluate potable water and to eliminate wastewater. She argues that urban residents’ practices are a locally specific form of the sociality of water, integral to the project of being well connected -- to other people, to the neighborhood, and to state-run water infrastructures. While being well connected is often thought of as an elite project, Farmer shows how the deployment of connections is equally important to those who live on the urban margins. 

9/5/2023 Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer! Today her book, Conceiving Christian America: Embryo Adoption and Reproductive Politics, publishes in the Anthropologies of American Medicine series of @NYUPress.

8/22/2023 Dr. Kali Rubaii published The Cost of the 2003 US War to Iraqi People

8/18/2023 Congratulations to Dr. Melanie Beasley! In July, Dr. Beasley published an edited volume as part of Springer's Interdisciplinary Contributions to Archaeology book series. This edited volume co-edited with Dr. Andrew Somerville was based on an organized session at the Society for American Archaeology annual meeting.

8/18/2023 Dr. Amanda Veile has co-authored a new short report, “Urbanization, migration, and indigenous health in Peru,” with Rocío Esmeralda Chávez Cabello, Erik R Otárola-Castillo, and Violeta Rojas Bravo, and @Gracie Turner (a Purdue undergraduate)! The article has come out in the August issue of the American Journal of Human Biology.

8/10/2023 Dr. Amanda Veile has authored a new book chapter, entitled “Globalization, Diet and Child Health in Three Latin American Indigenous Populations.” It is part of an edited volume: Human Growth and Nutrition in Latin American and Caribbean Countries, edited by Sudip Datta Banik and published by Springer.

7/20/2023 Seohyung Kim was awarded the 2023 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Master's Thesis Award.

7/20/2023 Dr. Kaitlyn Sanders was awarded the 2023 College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Dissertation Award.

7/1/2023 Congratulations to Saish Solankar for winning the Undergraduate Ethnobiologist Award from the Society of Ethnobiology, presented in Atlanta.

6/28/2023 Purdue Anthropology graduate student, and member of the Laboratory for Computational Anthropology (LCA), Trevor Keevil, co-authored Early Pleistocene cut marked hominin fossil from Koobi Fora, Kenya in the latest issue of Scientific Reports with researchers from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Colorado State University. The paper investigates stone tool butchery marks on the tibia of a 1.4-million-year-old hominin. The authors conclude that the observed cut marks on the tibia resulted from defleshing. They suggest that any post-defleshing cannibalism by human ancestors was likely driven by practical and utilitarian motivations, such as the need for sustenance. 

6/16/2023 Purdue University is proud to share that Jose R. Becerra Vera has been awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society. As a 2023 National Geographic Explorer, Becerra Vera will use this funding to research the environmental justice elements of uneven logistics pollution and wildfire smoke exposure in the Inland Empire region of Southern California.

6/9/2023 Anthropology Postdoctoral Research Assistant and Laboratory for Computational Archaeology (LCA) lab member Dr. Jesse Wolfhagen has published a new article in Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, entitled “Estimating the Ontogenetic Age and Sex Composition of Faunal Assemblages with Bayesian Multilevel Mixture Models”. The paper describes a new statistical method for using standard zooarchaeological measurements to estimate the age and sex composition of an assemblage by taking advantage of sexual dimorphism, resolving some issues that have complicated previous attempts to use the approach. It is published as open access (available here: and has an associated GitHub project with the code for replicating the paper and applying the method to new archaeological datasets (link here:

4/27/2023 Dr. Michele Buzon along with Stuart Tyson Smith published "Tumuli at Tombos: Innovation, Tradition, and Variability in Nubia during the Early Napatan Period" in the African Archaeological Review.

4/26/2023 PhD candidate, Meredith Aulds received the Purdue Boiler Changemaker Award.

4/24/2023 PhD Candidate, Kaitlyn Sanders, has been awarded the Paleopathology Association Cockburn Student Prize in April, 2023. This award is given each year at the Paleopathology Association meetings to the Best Student Podium Presentation and the Best Student Poster. Kaitlyn won for her podium presentation "Trabecular bone health at the Nubian site of Tombos (1440-660 BC)" which highlighted a portion of her dissertation research.

4/21/2023 Dr. Sarah Renkert has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award for research and teaching in Peru for the Spring 2024 semester. Sarah will continue her research on the politics of food aid distribution in Huaycán, while also teaching applied anthropology courses at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

4/21/2023 Dr. Sarah Renkert received honorable mention for her paper “False Generosity: A Freirean Reflection on Food Aid and Lima’s Comedores Populares” in April 2023, for the Latin American Studies Association’s Premio José María Arguedas.

4/20/2023 Dr. Amanda Veile has been granted a Center for Families’ Faculty Fellowship! She will receive $10,000 to support her field research project, “Nutritional assessment of Yucatec Maya children in the aftermath of global disruption." This grant is made possible through the generous support of the Virginia Gould Butterfield Endowment.

4/20/2023 Dr. Amanda Veile is the new Human Biology Association Program Chair. She will serve on the executive committee and lead the organization of their annual scientific meetings starting with 2024 in Los Angeles.

4/19/2023 Dr. Ian Lindsay & A. Mkrtchyan published Free and Low-Cost Aerial Remote Sensing in Archaeology: An Overview of Data Sources and Recent Applications in the South Caucasus in Advances in Archaeological Practice, 1-20, on April 19, 2023. 

3/29/2023 Dr. Michele R. Buzon, Kari A. Guilbault, and Antonio Simonetti published Exploring Intersectional Identities and Geographic Origins in Ancient Nubia at Tombos, Sudan in Bioarchaeology International.

3/27/2023 Graduate student, Olivia Palepoi, won a literary award from Purdue University's 2023 Literary Award Contest. She received first place in the Department of Anthropology Award category for an ethnographic essay Resistance & Refusal in Polynesia​.

3/27/2023 Undergrad Creighton Burns published It's not ok to die with dignity in America in volume 13, number 1 of the Journal for Undergraduate Ethnography. 

3/21/2023 Dr. Francisca Yuenki Lai, 2014 Purdue Anthropology PhD, has an article in the January/February 2023 Anthropology News publication, Queering Asian Labor Migration. Her book, Maid to Queer: Asian Labor Migration and Female Same-Sex Desires, details the meanings of same-sex relationships among Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong.

3/21/2023 Dr. Amanda Veile and doctoral candidate Valerie Miller were quoted in this new Salon article on "mommy brain" entitled It's time to rethink the narrative behind "mommy brain," scientists say. A new and growing body of scientific research is challenging public narratives around maternal cognition, which often have sexist undertones.

9/21/2022 Ph.D. Student Rebecca-Eli Long and Hannah Quinn (University of Toronto) wrote an essay about consent-as-method for the Disability as Rupture collection recently published in Fieldsights entitled Rupturing “Capacity to Consent”: Toward Anti-Ableist Research Relations.

9/21/2022 Dr. Zoe Nyssa has received an Engagement Scholarship Consortium research grant. This grant will fund an innovative mixed-method social-ecological project in the applied anthropology graduate classes for AY2022-23 (ANTH 640 and ANTH 641) to support community participation in local parks and green space redevelopment processes while improving water quality along the Wabash River, a key Indiana waterway. This project is made possible by a unique collaboration with Dr. Aaron Thompson (Landscape Architecture) and the Purdue Center for Community & Environmental Design (CCED) as well as Bryce Patz, Urban Forestry and Greenspace Administrator for the City of West Lafayette.

9/21/2022 Dr. Zoe Nyssa, Stinchcomb, T. R., Z. Ma published "Complex human-deer interactions challenge conventional management approaches: the need to consider power, trust, and emotion." Ecology and Society, 27(1): 13.

8/3/2022 Dr. Kali Rubaii was interviewed on Democracy Now about the US Senate bill that just got passed to cover healthcare for burn pit exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan. Click here for full interview

8/1/2022 Dr. Andrew Flachs for being a finalist for the Society of Economic Anthropology Kate Browne Creativity in Research Award for a story map project entitled "The Global Lives of Indian Cotton" funded by the CLA-ERHA grant.

7/29/2022 Dr. Amanda Veile and Dr. Erik Otárola-Castillo have published a new article entitled "Household conditions modulate associations between cesarean delivery and childhood growth". Co-authored with Karen Kramer (University of Utah), the article is available in early view at the American Journal of Biological Anthropology website.

5/13/2022 Dr. Dada Docot was the co-organizer and co-presenter (with Dr. Tricia Okada, Tamagawa University) for the virtual roundtable "Filipino Pasts and Futures: Life and Work in Japan" as part of her postdoctoral fellowship at Tokyo College, University of Tokyo.

5/13/2022 Dr. Dada Docot presented as an invited speaker in a roundtable held on April 29, titled “Overseas Filipinos and the Philippine Elections," organized by the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia.

5/13/2022 Dr. Dada Docot published an invited piece titled “Dispirited Away: The Peer Review Process" in the Political and Legal Anthropology Review Journal for the journal's relaunch of its "Directions" Section. 

5/13/2022 Dr. Risa Cromer published "Saving: Towards a Feminist Reckoning" in the Feminist Anthropology journal's special issue on Keywords. Check out the online pre-printed version here: 

5/13/2022 Dr. Risa Cromer and Rebecca Martinez co-authored "Impact of COVID-19 on People Experiencing Homelessness: A Call for Critical Accountability," a commentary essay with Drs. Natalia Rodriguez and Yumary Ruiz featured in the American Journal of Public Health. Check out the online pre-print here: 

5/13/2022 Dr. Risa Cromer presented a paper titled "Mark(et)ing Race in US Embryo Adoption" on April 28th in the virtual symposium "Tissue Donations Beyond the Gift of Life" hosted by the White Rose Vital Circulations Network based at the University of Leeds (York and Sheffield) in the UK. For more information about this network, check out: 

5/13/2022 Dr. Andrew Flachs was interviewed for the Landscapes podcast about GMOs and sustainable agriculture. Check out the interview here

5/4/2022 Dr. Michele Buzon has published an article entitled “Archaeological site along the Nile opens a window on the Nubian civilization that flourished in ancient Sudan” appearing on The Conversation. Dr. Buzon has worked in the Tombos region of northern Sudan for over 20 years. Check out her article here.

5/3/2022 Congratulations to PhD student Rebecca-Eli Long who was awarded the Robert Lemelson Foundation Fellowship from the Society for Visual Anthropology for their project "Crafting Autistic Futures." The SVA/Lemelson Foundation Fellowship supports graduate students working in visual and multimodal anthropology in preparing for dissertation research.

4/26/2022 Congratulations to Samuel Bakeis for acheiving the 2022 CLA Outstanding Senior Award!

3/22/2022 Dr. Ian Lindsay has a co-authored report, "The Project ArAGATS Kasakh Valley Archaeological Survey, Armenia: Report of the 2014–2017 Seasons" in the April issue of the American Journal of Archaeology! Read more about the project (open access): 

3/22/2022 Dr. Amanda Veile and graduate student Lauren Christopher have published a new paper, "Differences in nutritional status between rural and urban Yucatec Maya children: The importance of early life conditions," in the American Journal of Biological Anthropology. This work was conducted with collaborators Ines Varela-Silva, Hugo Azcorra, Federico Dickinson, and Karen Kramer, and is publicly available (open access):

2/18/2022 Congratulations to Dr. Kory Cooper, who has been selected as the recipient of the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2021-22! Dr. Cooper is being recognized for his many skills in the classroom, in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, leadership with the undergraduate program, and all that he does to advance excellence in our department. This award is chosen by the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation.

2/10/2022 Dr. Dada Docot published in _Commoning Ethnography_ about transnational mutual aid and solidarity during COVID-19 in the Philippines, in her article titled "Carceral and Colonial Memory during Pandemic Times in the Philippines: A Long Letter of Solidarity from the Diaspora." The article is a writeup of Dr. Docot's transnational fundraiser held in Summer 2021. Download her open-access piece at

2/8/2022 Graduate student Jose Becerra Vera was selected to receive the Michael M. Cernea Involuntary Resettlement Student Travel Award. With funding from this award, Jose will present a working paper at the Society for Applied Anthropology 2022 annual conference titled, "The Political Ecology of Air Pollution: A Case Study of the Inland Empire Region of California."

1/26/2022 Congratulations to graduate student Rebecca-Eli Long on being awarded a 2022 Craft Research Fund Project Grant, for their project, "Crafting Autistic Interests"! This project is part of dissertation research that uses participatory textile-making to explore autistic "special interests" and address narrative injustice. Through giving material form to autistic interests, this project serves as a form of textile politics that highlights the liberatory potential of autistic joy through craft.

1/13/2022 Dr. Laura Zanotti has a new publication out co-authored with Dr. Mangala Subramaniam, "Genesis of the Support Circle"! As the title suggests, the article walks the reader through the development of the Support Circle at Purdue University, which is aimed at faculty, and connects, builds ties, and provides opportunities to share experiences about experiences, stresses, uncertainties, and coping in these times. The goal of the Support Circle is to promote a culture of care on campus and cultivate a space where faculty can share and discuss various aspects of their well-being. Published in the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence and ADVANCE Purdue Center for Faculty Success Working Paper Series 4(2). 

1/12/2022 Dr. Melanie Beasley will be giving a virtual presentation on January 14 "What’s for dinner on the paleomenu? A stable isotope story about fermented meat and maggots" as part of the Seminar Series for the Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany.

11/22/2021 Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer on her 2022 Global Synergy Research Grant for her project, "Reproductive Righteousness and Far-Right Extremism: Global Feminist Perspectives"! The project examines the increasingly critical role of reproductive politics in right-wing movements and, in particular, the use of appeals around race, immigration, fertility, and demography to confer a ‘righteous’ authority to neo-fascist, neo-patriarchal politics across the globe. Risa and collaborators at Cambridge and Hebrew University launched the Reproductive Righteousness Project in June 2021 by bringing anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, and other feminist scholars of Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Asia, and Africa into dialogue to collaboratively theorize across national cases toward a more robust analysis of what we call “reproductive righteousness.” The Global Synergy Research Grant will support establishing our international research network with a virtual writing seminar in 2022, creation of an online archive (featuring blogs, videos, podcasts, and other media), and editorial labor for the first publication of our interdisciplinary initiative in a special issue of Women's Studies International Forum.

10/28/2021 Dr. Dada Docot's invited essay, "Mutlimodal Extractivism," is available at! In this article, Dr. Docot argues, " the multimodality that many anthropologists applaud for its usefulness and promise also stifles lives. Multimodalities that do not seriously engage with how violence, inequality, racialization, and injustice are perpetuated dangerously reproduce colonialist adventurism and obsessions with charting the unknown and rendering the Other readable and exploitable."

10/22/2021  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and collaborators, including Purdue Department of Anthropology graduate students Melissa Torquato and Trevor Keevil, co-authored a commentary on the importance of transparency for machine and deep learning applications in archaeology. Their manuscript, along with all data and statistical analyses (including machine and deep learning), are available for replication using R Markdown on GitHub In addition, the GitHub repository includes access to freely available .pdf and html preprint. The paper titled “Machine learning, bootstrapping, null models, and why we are still not 100% sure which bone surface modifications were made by crocodiles” is currently in press with the Journal of Human Evolution 

9/22/2021  What is the “savanna landscape effect”? Based on a review of the environmental pressures of savannas on chimpanzees, such as water scarcity, the team of Dr. Stacy Lindshield et al. found evidence that a “savanna landscape effect” shifts the behavior of chimpanzees in hot and dry landscapes.  Read the full article here.

9/15/2021    Congratulations to Dr. Ian Lindsay and co-PIs in Computer Science and Research Computing for being awarded a National Science Foundation grant! Using advanced drone imaging technology, the project will build an artificial intelligence-based framework for modeling complex urban constructions from remote sensing and field observations. The research team is part of Purdue’s interdisciplinary ROSETTA initiative housed in the College of Liberal Arts.

9/8/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Nyssa on being awarded an NSF for the project "Explaining Differential Success in Biodiversity Knowledge Commons"! The project will systematically investigate biodiversity data portals built from a common platform in order to understand portal communities and outcomes.

7/7/2021 Gender Equality in the Arctic is an international collaborative project highlighting the importance of recognition and appreciation of diversity in terms of discourses, gender, indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, governance, education, economies, social realities, sustainability, and balanced participation in leadership and decision making, both in the public and private sectors. The Phase III Arctic Gender Equality Report includes the chapter, "Empowerment and Fate Control," for which Dr. Laura Zanotti is a contributing author, along with Co-PIs Courtney Carothers and Charlene Apok.

On May 20, 2021, the Arctic Gender Equality Report was acknowledged and included in the Reykjavík Declaration 2021 that emphasized "the importance of gender equality and respect for diversity for sustainable development in the Arctic...and called for further action to advance gender equality in the Arctic." Gender was also included in the new Strategic plan of the Arctic Council, marking an important milestone as equality is considered a prerequisite of sustainable development in a future Arctic.

6/25/2021  In this video for the series curated by Dr. Girish Daswani (Anthropology, University of Toronto), Purdue Anthropology faculty Dr. Dada Docot speaks about the carceral and inherited colonial logics surrounding government and public responses to the #CommunityPantryPH mutual aid movement in the Philippines. 

5/19/2021  Rachel Small (Majoring in Anthropology and Communication, Minoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality studies) was awarded first place prize at the Purdue Undergrad Research Conference in the category of Archival Presentations for her research talk, "White Feminist Icons: An Intersectional Case Study on Amelia Earhart"!

5/14/2021  Anthropology major Sarah Coon was nominated for the Beinecke Scholarship! The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 and seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. Congratulations, Sarah!

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Riall Nolan, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Sol Tax Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes and honors long-term and exceptional service to the Society. You can read more about Dr. Nolan’s work here.

5/11/2021  Congratulations to Evelyn Blackwood, Professor Emeritus of Purdue Anthropology who received the Association of Queer Anthropology (AQA) Distinguished Achievement Award for the years 2020 and 2021. The Distinguished Achievement Award honors outstanding contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer anthropology through scholarship, research, teaching, mentoring, service, public engagement, and/or activism. You can read more here.

5/3/2021  Brandi Wren, a research affiliate for the department of anthropology was studying social distancing and infections before social distancing became the new normal. Social grooming in the animal kingdom is common and serves several functions, from removing ectoparasites to maintaining social bonds between conspecifics. We examined whether time spent grooming with others in a highly social mammal species was associated with infection status for gastrointestinal parasites. Read more here.

4/15/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Jennifer Johnson, who has been selected as a recipient of the Kenneth T. Kofmehl Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award for 2020-21! This award is one of the top teaching awards in our College. Winners are nominated by departments and chosen by the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. We are so pleased that Dr. Johnson's talents and contributions to students are recognized, especially the positive and important impact of her teaching during these very difficult times. Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

4/6/2021  Jenail Marshall has been selected by the African American Studies and Research Center at Purdue as a 2021 Remmers Award winner! The award was established in memory of Dr. H. H. Remmers, Head of the Division of Educational Reference and member of the Psychology Department and recognizes academic excellence and scholarly promise among social science and interdisciplinary studies graduate students. Congratulations, Jenail!

3/25/2021   Dr. Andrew Flachs has been selected as a College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher for 2020-2021!  The award is chosen from among nominations submitted by departments to the Liberal Arts Educational Excellence Awards Committee and the Dean on the basis of student and faculty nominations, student ratings, teaching and scholarly excellence, and peer evaluation. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

3/9/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Remis, who has received the Violet Haas Award by the Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence! The Violet Haas Award recognizes individuals, programs, or departments at Purdue that have effectively facilitated the advancement of women in hiring, promotion, education, and salary, or have generally enhanced a positive professional climate for women at Purdue.

3/7/2021  The Sudanese American Medical Association sponsored an international webinar this month in which Professor Emerita Ellen Gruenbaum gave a talk, “Achieving Abandonment: Law and the process of change in Sudan and other countries” in a session with two Sudanese colleagues on the theme of “No Time for Global Inaction:  Unite, Fund, and Act to End Female Genital Mutilation.”

2/12/2021  Congratulations to grad student Jose Becerra whose project, "Trade-off’s Between the Logistics Economy and Community Health: Disproportionate Exposure to Air Pollution Among Marginalized Communities in the Inland Empire" has been selected for the 2021 Halperin Memorial Fund Award!

1/25/2021 Online science magazine Flip Science featured the case of rapid cremations in the Philippines during COVID-19 and its links with colonial sanitation regimes, drawing from interviews with Purdue cultural anthropologist Dada Docot and forensic anthropologist Matthew C. Go, following up on their recent editorial that appeared on Forensic Science International: Synergy.<

1/9/2021  In "Fire and fear: Rapid cremations in the Philippines amidst COVID-19" just released in Forensic Science International: Synergy, Dr. Dada Docot with co-author Dr. Matthew Go consider how recent regulations in the Philippines requiring expeditious cremations for COVID-19 victims is disruptive where burning the dead is largely taboo. Using forensic science and cultural anthropology, they consider culturally appropriate possibilities for honoring the dead.

1/7/2021  Grad student Kari A. Guilbault, who is studying bioarchaeology, has a photo collection, Sticks and Stones, in Unearthed, an online literary journal from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Guilbault uses photography to capture the interconnectedness between nature and humans

1/4/2021  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti for winning National Science Foundation support for the project, “CNH2-L: Using Sound to Advance Conceptual Frameworks of Resilience of Integrated Grassland-Pastoralist Systems” where she serves as co-PI!  

1/4/2021  Dr. Jennifer Johnson has been selected to participate in a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership program! Read more here.

11/20/20  Andrew Flachs has just been awarded a Just Tech Covid-19 Rapid-Response grant from the Social Science Research Council for his project, "Technological Transitions in the US Local Food System in Response to Covid-19"! This project explores the digital infrastructures of risk, food access, and growing power built as the local food system transitions to online supply chains during the pandemic. See more here. Congratulations, Dr. Flachs!

11/2/2020  Congratulations to Samuel Bakeis on being awarded a Purdue Student Service-Learning Grant Program for Community Service/Service Learning for the project, "Archival Activities with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association"! During the 1970s and '80s frequent excavations were conducted at Fort Ouiatenon, and photo slides, site maps, and notes stored at the TCHA. Samuel's project will consist of replacing deteriorating slide sleeves, organizing physical artifacts in an improved manner, and digitalizing a large sum of this information so that future research can be done. Congratulations, Samuel!  Samuel Bakeis

10/28/2020  We are proud to announce that Jennifer Lee Johnson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University, has been selected to participate in one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s leadership programs. These programs connect changemakers across the country—from every profession and field—to learn from and work with one another in creating more just and thriving communities

Specifically, Dr. Johnson was selected for Interdisciplinary Research Leaders. Designed for teams of two researchers and one community leader, Interdisciplinary Research Leaders supports teams for three years as they work with their communities to design and conduct rigorous research to explore critical issues, then apply the findings in real-time to advance health and equity.

As a member of the program’s newest cohort, Dr. Johnson will focus on environmental contamination and community health in Martinsville, Indiana. While this community is exceptional in many ways, it is increasingly reflective of broader regional trends, especially with respect to pervasive exposures to toxic chemicals and rising rates of cancer and poverty. By engaging multiple methodological approaches and a range of community members, the overall goal of Johnson’s project is to improve how information on exposure risk is produced, consumed and put to use to motivate meaningful improvements in health outcomes and health equity in Martinsville and beyond.

To learn more about Interdisciplinary Research Leaders and RWJF’s other leadership programs, and to meet other participants, visit

10/26/2020  Dr. Kali Rubaii was recently interviewed for Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (on KPFA Radio) about her recently published article on the toxic legacy of war in Iraq. You can listen to the entire interview here.

10/23/2020  In a recent article in Frontiers in Political Science, Professor Emeritus Richard Blanton et al consider commonalities in the collapse of the Roman Empire, China's Ming Dynasty, India's Mughal Empire, and the Venetian Republic using Collective Action Theory. These governments "illustrate a moral bond between citizen and leadership that is inherent where there is joint production. Moral failure of the leadership in this social setting brings calamity because the state's lifeblood—its citizen-produced resource-base—is threatened when there is loss of confidence in the state, which brings in its wake social division, strife, flight, and a reduced motivation to comply with tax obligations." The authors were recently interviewed in Phys.Org.

10/21/2020  Recently Dr. Melissa Remis and Dr. Carolyn Jost Robinson (Ph.D. 2012) published an article in the Smithsonian Magazine about their research emphasizing the importance of thinking about the ways in which our lives are bound up with the other species around us, how large mammals have and continue to shape our environment and the need to collaborate with local communities for planning effective conservation policies that take into account local knowledge and lifeways. Click here to read more about their research.

10/16/2020  Dr. Risa Cromer recently published ‘Which Lives Matter? Pro-Life Politics during a Pandemic’ in Medical Anthropology Quarterly’s Critical Issues series focused on the upcoming election. The essay examines what pro-life has come to mean during a pandemic by tracing the racist violence of its rhetoric in American politics.

10/13/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs is featured in CHE- Center for Culture, History, and Environment. Farmers Living and Dying by Cotton Seeds in India is an excerpt from Dr. Flach's book Cultivating Knowledge, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with farmers growing genetically modified and organic cotton in Telangana, India.

9/30/2020  In "'Our family picture is a little hint of heaven': race, religion and selective reproduction in US 'embryo adoption'", Dr. Risa Cromer makes a case for how race and religion intersect to shape how white evangelical users of assisted and selective reproduction technologies use them. The article is published in the November 2020 issue of Reproductive Medicine and Society Online, a special issue resulting from a two-year workshop led by Rayna Rapp and Séverine Mathieu. 

9/3/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Stacy Lindshield and the team on their NSF grant for the project, "Collaborative Research: The Ecological Basis of Hunting and Meat Sharing in Female Savanna Chimpanzees"!

Description and team members:  Sexual selection theory and patterns of male-biased hunting and meat-eating for chimpanzees, some of our closest living relatives, have been traditionally integrated with models of human behavioral evolution. However, tool use and female-biased hunting are characteristics of savanna chimpanzees in Senegal. Hunting with tools may enable these females to routinely ingest and share meat on a seasonal basis without the need for being provisioned by males. This project precisely captures the effect of hunting with tools on diet and compares the weight of these findings to the causes and consequences of male-biased trends that characterize most chimpanzee groups studied today. This interdisciplinary study is a part of the HUNTRESS project on HUnting, Nutrition, Tool-use, Reproductive Ecology, and meat Sharing in Savanna chimpanzees to holistically assess female-biased hunting.

The HUNTRESS team combines behavioral, isotopic, nutritional, genetic, visual analytic, and geographic approaches to compare hunting and meat ingestion between females and males, and in relation to climate and food availability. This project increases capacity for chimpanzee research in Senegal by fully engaging with and supporting local partners and students. Furthermore, it is part of a long-term program that supports habitat preservation in Senegal for the critically-endangered western chimpanzee.

Members of this team also include Papa Ibnou Ndiaye (Université Cheikh Anta Diop), Jill Pruetz (Texas State University), Elizabeth Flaherty (Purdue University), Amy Reibman (Purdue University) and Leslie Knapp (University of Utah).

Melissa Remis, photot courtesy of Purdue News ServiceCaroline Jost Robinson, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost

8/31/2020  Elephants, Hunters, and Others: Integrating Biological Anthropology and Multispecies Ethnography in a Conservation Zone, by Melissa Remis and Carolyn A. Jost Robinson (Purdue PhD 2012) is published in the September issue of American Anthropologist.  The article integrates biological, multispecies and sociocultural approaches with a focus on shared ecologies of BaAka elephant hunters, African forest elephants and others along elephant trails in the Congo Basin.  The authors highlight the ways elephants shape forest structure and the fabric of existence for the people that live there.  They explore the consequences of conservation zoning that restricts forest community access to the trails, resources and social networks in order to develop more culturally relevant and collaborative conservation practices.
Above photo left: Melissa Remis, photo provided by Purdue News, Above photo right: Caroline Jost Robinson, photo provided by Caroline. Photo Below: African Forest Elephants. Photo provided by Caroline Jost Robinson.

African Forest Elephants, photo courtesy of Caroline Jost Robinson





8/31/2020  Dr. Andrew Flachs tells the global story of Indian cotton including contributions from researchers based in India, the US, and Europe. This interactive Story Map includes archaeological, historical, and ethnographic elements spanning the origins of cotton farming to the impacts of genetically modified crops to the secondhand clothing industry, and accompanies Flachs' new book Cultivating knowledge: Biotechnology, sustainability, and the human cost of cotton capitalism in India

8/18/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zanotti and Dr. Risa Cromer on their 2020 Enabling Inclusion at Purdue grants! These awards are made to project proposals that further the Butler Center’s goals to foster a climate of inclusion for faculty, particularly for women and underrepresented minorities.

“Next Steps – Environment Justice, Climate Change, and Racial Justice," Laura Zanotti (principal investigator) with C4E, PCCRC, AAARCC, the Honors College, SIS, and the NAECC as Co-PIs.

“Data Promises and Perils in the Time of COVID: Critical Data Studies Teach-Ins and Syllabus Project for Enabling Inclusion at Purdue," Faithe Day (principal investigator) with Risa and the Critical Data Studies Collective (which I am a member of) are Co-PIs

7/31/2020  In pursuit of creativity, Anthropologists are writing in new genres during COVID. Dr. Kali Rubaii is one of the contributors to American Ethnologist's  "Post-Covid Fantasies", edited by Catherine Besteman, Heath Cabot, and Barak Kalir. 

7/13/2020 As part of AAA's 2020 Webinar series on "Game-Changing Job Search Strategies as an Applied Anthropologist - A Four-Part Webinar Series" , Drs. Sherylyn Briller and Amy Goldmacher, along with Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys LLC) and others participated in "Part 1: Get Hired! Showcase Your Unique Value" on July 9. The information from the webinar should be posted on the AAA website with the Resources and Webinar Recording by midweek, if not sooner.

Purdue graduate students or alumni will be participating in the following:

Part 2: 5 Secrets for Building Networks that Lead to Jobs

Thursday, July 16
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Elizabeth K. Briody (Cultural Keys), Ann Reed (Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield), Elizabeth Wirtz (U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Purdue alumna), Beth Holland (University of North Texas) and Keith Kellersohn (Wicomico Co. Board of Education)

Part 3: This Is Not Your Parents' Resume: New Ways to Tell Your Story

Thursday, July 23
1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT
Presenters: Dawn Lehman (Pathways21), Ingrid Ramón Parra (Purdue University), William Tyner (National Geographic), and Adam Gamwell (Missing Link Studios)

If you miss any of these sessions, video will soon be available on the AAA website.

 7/6/2020  Dr. Holly Okonkwo has received the 2020-21 American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, for her book project, "Liberatory Code: Black women and the Politics of Computing". In this project, Dr. Okonkwo ethnographically explores the experiences of Black women technologists in the U.S, their techno-social innovations and how they navigate and negotiate complex issues of race, gender, community and marginalization, to cultivate and imagine liberatory futures for themselves. AAUW Fellows are selected on the basis of scholarly excellence, quality and originality of project design, and active commitment to helping women and girls through service in their communities, professions, or fields of research.

6/22/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Valerie Miller and advisor Dr. Amanda Veile on their recent publication, "Assessment of attention in biological mothers using the attention network test - revised"! The publication, co-authored with Lisa A. VanWormer, appears in Current Psychology. This is the first study to investigate the effects of biological motherhood on attention network functioning.

6/3/2020  Congratulations to Kamryn Dehn (College of Liberal Arts, College of Agriculture, and the Honors College, majoring in anthropology and aquatic sciences) on receiving the 2020 Tyler Trent Courage and Resilience Award!

"Scholarship recipients embody Tyler’s legacy by rising above hardship, turning it into something positive, and continuing to seek their passions. Dehn made a particular impression on [Mitch] Daniels and the selection committee in the way she used her personal challenges to create positive and lasting change in the lives of those around her." read more here.

5/21/2020  Dr. Erik Otarola-Castillo and graduate student Melissa Torquato’s paper published in the Annual Reviews of Anthropology, titled “Bayesian Statistics in Archaeology”, is featured as a Notable Writing in the latest volume of “The Best Writing on Mathematics 2019”. This annual anthology, published by Princeton University Press, brings together the year’s finest mathematics writing from around the world.

5/20/20 In a recent publication in Cultural Anthropology Dr. Kali Rubaii explores how people find trust to overcome issues during situations of crisis even when they have no knowledge of one another’s motives in TRUST WITHOUT CONFIDENCE: Moving Medicine with Dirty Hands

5/19/2020  Congratulations to Diana Quintero and Kamryn Dehn for the earning 1st place prize for best poster presentation in the College of Liberal Arts at the virtual Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference. Diana and Kamryn presented on "Male vs. Female Representation in Chimpanzee Behavioral Studies" as part of an ongoing study with Dr. Stacy Lindshield on feminist perspectives in primatology.

5/14/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Holly Okonkwo! She has been awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Liberatory Code: Race, Gender and the Politics of Computing"! Funding from this grant support Dr. Okonkwo in completing her current book manuscript.

5/14/2020  Alumna Franco Lai's (PhD 2014) first book, based on her PhD dissertation, is coming out from @hkupress in December 2020! Maid to Queer is the first book about Asian female migrant workers who develop same-sex relationships in a host city. Based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with Indonesian domestic workers in Hong Kong, the book explores the meanings of same-sex relationships to these migrant women. Congrats, Franco! 

5/11/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer on being awarded a 2020 Summer Faculty Grant from the Purdue Research Foundation for her research project titled, "Ex Utero: Frozen Embryo Politics in the United States"! This funding will support Dr. Cromer in completing her current book manuscript. 

5/7/2020  Purdue Alumnus magazine has a feature article including Dr. Michele Buzon and Dr. Laura Zanotti, who share what it takes to do their field research and why it matters! Read more here.

5/7/2020  Graduate student, Gideon Singer is part of a team at Datastory that has created a GIS Map Layer with their partners Spatial A.I. The map shows social sentiment regarding COVID-19 in each county of the US. Gideon's experience researching social media during his Ph.D. gave him the idea to generate word clouds based on social media data. He was then able to use the Python scripting language to automate a word-cloud that took the shape of each respective county as long as there were 50 or more post in the last week.

4/30/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Zoe Nyssa and Dr. Risa Cromer on a recent publication! Along with collaborator Jessica Hardin, they have recently published a short essay in the _Journal for the Anthropology of North America’s_ ‘Coming to Terms’ series. In it they grapple with "saving"as a practice common to their respective field sites, our discipline, and the world. While written just before the CoVID pandemic was recognized as a global crisis, the authors are noticing that calls to save are ever louder and more regular. Read on.

4/29/2020  Dr. Melanie Beasley's Forensic Anthropology class is featured in this month's CLA THiNK Magazine! This class provides students with a real-world perspective on death investigation and even provides hands-on skeletal activities to experience what a professional forensic anthropologist might analyze in a lab. #AnthOfTomorrow #ForensicAnthro #anth215forensics

4/23/2020  Congratulations to graduate student Jenail Marshall on being awarded a 2020 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship! The NSF GRFP provides 3 years of funding towards her project, "Bioarchaeological investigations of human-microbial interaction in East Africa"

4/19/2020 Congratulations to Amanda Waller who has been awarded The Boilers Work internship. Only 10 graduate students at Purdue receive this stipend internship. This program is intended to help students garner real-world work experience, refine soft-skills, and establish career connections prior to graduation. Upon return, program participants are required to facilitate one professional development workshop to share their experiences and insights.

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Elizabeth Kriebel, who has been accepted to a graduate program in Museum and Field Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder! She has been awarded a GA-ship to work at the campus museum while she pursues studies towards her master's. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

4/16/2020  Congratulations to Sarah Huang on her recent publication! Sarah's chapter, "Food from Home and Food from Here: Disassembling Locality in Local Food Systems with Refugees and Immigrants in Anchorage, Alaska" has been published in the book, The Immigrant-Food Nexus: Borders, Labor, and Identity in North America edited by Julian Agyeman and Sydney Giacalone. A link to the open-access edition is available here

4/14/2020  Emerita Dr. Ellen Gruenbaum just published “Debating Deinfibulation: "Why Some Women Resist the WHO Advice and What Clinicians and Researchers Can Do” in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.   The article draws on not only Dr. Gruenbaum's own research but also the important work being done by other scholars in this area of interest, who are trying to shape a more humane and informed responses to FGC and those who are living with its aftermath.

4/9/2020  Congratulations to Liz Hall and Savannah Schulze on being awarded a Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship! Liz will be writing up her project entitled, "Zoonotic Risks at the Human-Primate Interface: Behavior, Nutritional Status, and Immune Function in a Food Insecure Central African Forest Reserve." Savannah will be writing up her project entitled, "Forest People without a forest: Shifting Batwa Identity on the Fringes of Global Conservation Spaces, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda."

4/8/2020  Graduate student Gideon Singer is working as a GIS Specialist with Datastory. Their team worked together to curate and visualize various COVID-19 resources to make available to the public. Storytelling with maps is a major part of Gideon's work with Datastory. Updated everyday, they have created the Case Tracker WebMap that shows the amount of COVID-19 cases per county.

3/25/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Risa Cromer, who has been selected to participate in the Society for Family Planning Wiki Scholars Program cohort this summer from June-August, 2020. The 2020 SFP Wiki Scholars Program is a partnership between the Society of Family Planning and Wiki Education. Wikipedia is one of the most popular sources of information, including information about abortion and contraception. Building the capacity of family planning researchers to ensure this powerful tool connects the public with up-to-date and accurate information is an exciting opportunity. Through this program, the cohort will become fluent in Wikipedia's tools, adding to already-existing articles, and potentially creating new ones.

2/24/2020  A short piece published by Dr. Jennifer Johnson in the edited volume, An Ecotopian Lexicon, was recently mentioned in a stunning review of the collection as a whole in The New Yorker! The contribution introduces the Luganda interjection, gyebale, thank you for the work you do, a term used as a greeting, a goodbye, or simply as an acknowledgment of the ongoing work of others, exchanged between friends, colleagues, and non-familiars alike. For Hua Hsu, author of the New Yorker review, gyebale also "suggest[s] a kind of communal ethos baked into how two strangers might regard each other.” Congratulations, Dr. Johnson!

1/29/2020  Assistant professor of anthropology Melanie Beasley was invited to serve as an isotope expert at a forensic workshop hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross in South Africa. Thousands of migrants die each year along perilous routes in Africa and beyond, many without identification. The workshop is a collaborative humanitarian effort to help determine how stable isotope methods can be implemented to help identify migrants who die each year. 

1/6/2020  Congratulations to Dr. Dada Docot on her recent publication, "Taking the Long Route: Ethnographic Metacommentary as Method in the Anthropological Film Practice," Current Anthropology 60, no. 6 (December 2019): 774-795. In this article, Dr. Docot introduces “ethnographic metacommentary,” an experiential, processual, and protracted approach to ethnography, and shows how ethnographic metacommentary is a productive thought process that fleshes out ruptures in the filmmaking process that are often concealed from the audience, and even from the filmmakers.



Congratulations to the following students who received the Department of Anthropology's top honors for academic achievement and service, the O. Michael Watson Award for Outstanding Graduating Senior. The Award is named in honor of our legendary professor, Dr. O. Michael Watson (1936-2012), whose dynamic undergraduate courses excited decades of anthropology students. Each year, the student selected goes on to be nominated for consideration for the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Student Award.

2023 Creighton Burns                                                                                                                            2022 Samuel Bakeis                                                                                                                              2021 Kayla Lopez
2020 Elizabeth Kriebel
2019 Isabelle Ortt
2018 Bridget Curry 
2017 Kate Yeater
2016 Jonathan Micon
2015 Michael Lockman
2014 Katelyn Revis
2013 Alisha Yadav
2012 Donald Pattee
2010 Monya Anderson
2009 Marcus Glassman
2008 Sarah Kinder
2007 David Fitzsimmons


Walter Hirsch was a Purdue faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology from 1947 until his retirement in 1989, who specialized in social movements and the sociology of science. His family and friends established this award in his memory in recognition of his long-time interest in and support of graduate students. Each year, the award provides approximately $1,000 to help with the costs of dissertation research for one doctoral candidate in Anthropology and one in Sociology.

2015 Ingrid Ramon Parra
2014 Jonas Ecke
2013 Elizabeth Wirtz
2012 Sarah Schrader
2011 Franco Lai
2010 Katie Smith
2009 Lesley Daspit

Remembering Those That Went Before

O.M Watson  

O. Michael Watson (1936-2012)

Dr. Watson was born in 1936 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Colorado.  After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he studied anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and earned a BA and Ph.D.   In 1967 joined the Purdue University faculty as one of the founders of the Anthropology Department.  Professor Watson’s early research focused on proxemic analysis, which he published in Proxemic Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study (Mouton, 1970). He subsequently turned to visual anthropology, which led to a number of publications and graduate seminars, as well as his production of the classic film Spirit of Ethnography. Professor Watson was one of the founders of anthropology at Purdue, and he devoted his career to the growth of the discipline and to the department.  A renowned teacher and beloved professor, he won numerous teaching awards during his 40 years at Purdue.  Generations of students took his love of anthropology and enthusiasm for human cultural diversity along with them as they pursued their many directions.  Known for his energy and amazing ability to find humor everywhere, he is remembered for the joy and laughter he brought to so many lives.  When Professor Watson retired in 2007, the Department of Anthropology honored him by naming our annual student award after him. 

Jay O'Brien 

Jay O’Brien (1947-2013)
Jay O’Brien was born in New Jersey, in 1947 and grew up in California.  He came of age influenced by the music, activism, natural beauty, and the social concerns of 1960s California.  After being an exchange student in Sweden when he was 17 and doing a study abroad in Germany, he was inspired to become an anthropologist.  He studied anthropology at Stanford University and the University of Connecticut (Ph.D. 1980).
Professor O’Brien studied the long-term effects of colonial regimes in Africa, and wrote his master’s thesis on Portuguese empire in Africa, 1415-1961. Subsequently, he spent 5 years in Sudan, researching agricultural labor and development, using political economy and ethnography to understand family dynamics, ethnic identification shifts, and development dilemmas in Sudan.  Among his publications were three books—on political economy and development in Sudan, and on the intersection of history and anthropology. 
His career was about social justice and the process of change, analyzing the conditions of poverty, the dilemmas of development, and their impacts on human cultural life.  He became deeply engaged in teaching, achieving tenure at Lawrence University and teaching at a dozen other universities in Sudan, Sweden, Botswana, and the U.S.  He came to Purdue in 2008 with his life partner, Ellen Gruenbaum, to be part of the newly launched independent Department of Anthropology.